2021 is just around the corner, so now’s the time to pin down your customer interaction strategy.
This is, perhaps, the most exciting new year we’ve seen in a while because it seems that many people are ready to say goodbye to 2020! 2020 was rough on small businesses, that’s for sure. However, there are many lessons to be learned from this year that we can incorporate into our business goals as we look ahead to 2021.
One of the most important things businesses have learned from 2020 is the importance of loyal customers. Meaningful customer interactions are what make and keep customers loyal to the businesses they work with, so every business owner should have customer interaction strategies at the top of their list of 2021 goals.
When it comes to setting up goals for the next year, it’s a good idea to look ahead five years from now and decide where you want your business to be at that point in time. Determine what steps can be taken in the near future to make sure your business is where you want it to be further down the road. Most businesses will agree that customer experience is a top priority for them, now more than ever. Guess what? Customers agree with that, too. In fact, over 85% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for a business that offers an exceptional customer experience.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again.. Customer interactions drive positive customer experiences and create loyalty to your business.
Let’s look ahead. What will be the top customer interaction strategies for 2021?
Offer Omnichannel Customer Interactions
“Companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.” Omnichannel customer interaction means that your business is accessible to its customers on multiple communication platforms. People search in many places for businesses to work with, and they use various methods to interact with those businesses. Today’s tech-savvy consumers have come to expect seamless interactions, regardless of the various channels or devices they choose to use for those interactions. If your business doesn’t already offer omnichannel customer interactions, 2021 is the time to change that. Your current and future customers should be able to communicate with you through:
- Social Media
- Text Messages
- Phone Calls
You could say that today’s consumer is spoiled, and you’d be right. The truth is, businesses need to keep up with the demands of the consumer, and in 2021 that means being easily accessible all over the place.
Send the First Message
More than 50% of small businesses have no strategic customer engagement plan in motion. If you’re one of those businesses, consider this your personal invitation to make customer engagement a top priority in 2021. Building relationships with consumers is similar to dating. If you don’t show your customers that you’re interested, how will they know?! 2021 is the time for businesses to be aggressive in their customer interaction strategies. Your business should be regularly interacting with its customers and sending content to them that is valuable and related to your business. Remind your customers why you’re so awesome to work with, and why you should be their top choice in the coming year(s). Businesses with the strongest interaction strategies are those that create a customer hunger for their products and services.
Whenever Apple releases a new product, consumers have seen ads, emails, text messages and social posts for months showcasing that product and showing consumers why they simply can’t live without it. Small businesses can do the same for their customers by understanding and using their data to know what customers want from their services. Send the first message to your customers and make it appetizing by:
- Showcasing a new product or service
- Sharing a glowing review of your business
- Offering a discount on their first service of 2021
- Providing answers to common FAQs pertaining to your industry
Keep customers informed and interested through each of your engagements in 2021.
Ongoing Customer Interactions
When we talk about the top customer interaction strategies for the coming year, we’re not talking about just the big-picture of customer engagement. Instead, we’re looking at each and every conversation that contributes to the overall relationship your business has with its customers. Each interaction counts, especially now.
Businesses have become increasingly creative in their messaging because they had to. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a huge pressure on small businesses that has given them no choice but to work extra hard to keep customers around. Ongoing customer interactions are, possibly, the most important thing a business can do for itself, and here are some important things to keep in mind while interacting with your customers:
- Be Transparent: Let customers know the truth about the pricing and capabilities of your business so they don’t become disappointed following your interaction.
- Be Yourself: Of course professionalism is important. But too often, businesses get lost in focusing on talking to customers like a business rather than like a person. Be friendly, and allow your customers to get to know you as more than just a business. Over 70% of consumers say they will stay loyal to a business that has personable and friendly employees.
- Put in the Effort: Customers no longer have to come to you. Businesses are after consumers now more than ever. Once you’ve earned a customer, don’t lose them simply because there wasn’t enough emphasis placed on customer interactions. Know your customers by name, understand their needs and be compassionate and put in the effort to meet their needs, even before they ask.
- Respond to feedback: Responding doesn’t simply mean writing back after your business receives a review or feedback about a service or product. In 2021, focus on showing customers that you care about your interactions with them by really listening to and learning from the feedback they offer you.
Being instantly available to customers and easily accessible across multiple platforms is the way of the world today for businesses. Convenience is the name of the game in 2021 and small businesses need to utilize top customer interaction strategies. If you think your business needs some expert help reaching its customer interaction goals in 2021, schedule a free demo with us today!
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!